For The Someday Book

Book Review: Ruby

Posted on: February 17, 2012

Ruby, by Ann Hood, Picador USA, 1998, 225 pp.

This book was passed along to me by a family member in a big stack of books, and I brought it along on my trip to be an easy read for the 12-hour flight back from the Holy Land trip. It passed the time just like it was supposed to do, and I read it cover-to-cover on the long flight (along with watching three movies—it wasn’t a long read).

Ruby is a story about grief and healing, about family and new life. Olivia’s husband is tragically killed in a car accident, and her life has fallen apart around her. Into her life comes Ruby, a wayward, pregnant teenage girl with nowhere else to go. Olivia takes her in, and yearns to adopt the child she is carrying. Ruby vacillates between being a lost and lonely and rebellious and hurtful. Eventually they find healing in one another, along with the sense of family they’ve both been yearning for.

The book was not transformative or powerfully insightful about the human condition, but it was good beach reading—an interesting story with good characters. The one part of the book that was most profound was the journey of Olivia’s grief. She wrestles with her complex feelings of anger and forgiveness toward the young woman who accidentally killed her husband, with the friends who are ready to set her up on dates, with family who is concerned that she is not “moving on,” and with the feelings of emptiness and purposelessness that grief brings. Hood does an excellent job of capturing these complex experiences, without needing to resolve them immediately.

Ruby was great plane reading, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something light and enjoyable to escape into for awhile.

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About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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